OTTAWA — One in five U.S. working adults over the age of 18 reported mental illness and 71 percent reported at least one symptom of stress, members of Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce heard Tuesday.
Pathways Counseling Center, Ottawa, Executive Director Donna Konst and Clinical Director Elaine Kiene spoke to a group of chamber members during the groups monthly meeting Tuesday at Henry’s in Ottawa.
“Behavioral health has changed so much and in today’s world employees need our support and how we do that makes a difference,” Konst said.
She said the National Business Group on Mental Health reports that there are 217 million lost work days due to mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
The American Psychiatry Association states depression is the major cause of lost productivity due to presenteeism — coming to work but being so distracted and unengaged work duties are not being completed.
High employee turnover, high absenteeism, poor performance, working slow, missed deadlines and distraction can be attributed to work place mental health, Konst said.
She said to encourage positive mental health employers can develop a workplace culture that values diversity, establish professional and respectful boundaries of employee interactions and recognize employees for a job well done.
Kiene said the counseling center offers an employee assistance program that provides mental health diagnosis and counseling to those employees who need assistance.
The center also offers pre-employment, random and post drug screening, drug screenings after a work related accident and problem solving and coping training.
“Mental health issues need to be discussed. People need to take the time to invest in someone and ask how they are doing, you don’t have to be a mental health expert to invest in people,” Kiene said.
In other business, the chamber members heard a presentation from Amber Mangas and Dr. Tony Morman, co-founders of recently created non-profit Putnam County Foundation.
There will be fundraising events in the community to raise funds to assist the students as part of the foundation.
The co-founders have been working for the past year to get the non-profit established that came to be in September.
“The foundation is to work with existing organizations to help raise funds to assist children in the county,” Mangas said.
The organization will work with Putnam County schools to assess students’ needs and also develop a fund where people can provide funding in their name.
A Facebook page Putnam County Foundation will soon be developed.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.